Artist: FILLIOU, ROBERT
Title: Sings Marquis de Sade
Label: Goaty Tapes
"Robert Filliou is one of the more elusive figures of European Conceptualism, and this tape is perhaps his most obscure piece.
Born in France, Filliou fought in the Resistance during World War II before emigrated to Los Angeles, where he worked as a laborer at the Coca-Cola bottling factory. He went on to earn a Masters in Economics at UCLA while supporting himself as a night watchman, busboy, and research assistant. Filliou then traveled to South Korea, where he worked for United Nations Reconstruction Agency.
He launched his creative endeavors only later, in 1960, at thirty-four years old. Like other latecomers (Marcel Broodthaers, Yves Klein) Filliou sat awkwardly between art movements, pivoting between Fluxus, Neo-Dada, and early Conceptualism. His sculptures, performances, and writings were primarily a means of articulating his theories: the Eternal Network, the Creative Economy, and Permanent Creation, which salutes Antonio Gramscis “Permanent Revolution”. But Filliou subscribed to his own, curious brand of Socialism—a utopian concoction of Charles Fournier and German Romanticism, shot through with contemporary interest in Marshall McLuhan and Mao Zedong.
“Robert Filliou Sings Marquis de Sade” is not listed in Fillious catalogue raisonné, and as far as I know, he never performed it publicly. I found a copy in his old friends basement. The piece was presumably made casually and sent as a gift (an anti-artist as determined as Robert Filliou must have enjoyed presenting his art as gifts for amusement).
Here, Filliou sings passages from Marquis de Sade, the eighteenth centurys favorite sexual extremist, antipodal moralist, and scandalizer of the feudal elite. Interestingly, Filliou excerpts passages in which Sade describes how nations torture and kill their prisoners, not the more famous passages that describe the authors deviance. Sung acapella, Fillious tenor quivers with an Old World vibrato, lending Sades text a peculiar ambivalence: is Filliou promoting Sades criticisms or deflating them? Is he shedding light on state violence or mocking our obsession with it? In Fluxus fashion, such answers are left unresolved." - Goaty Tapes.
Covers are marbled, letterpresses, and individually splattered."
Artist: FILLIOU, ROBERT
Title: Whispered History of Art
Edition of 186. Slowscan volume 30. Filliou was a Fluxus artist also associated with the Nouveau Réalisme group (along with Yves Klein, Jean Tinguely, François Dufrêne, and Daniel Spoerri, among others).
Side B is a performance of Fillious "Whispered History of Art" (1963) recorded at New Wilderness Studio, New York, in 1977. Side A is an introduction by Dick Higgins. Cover art by George Maciunas.
"In 1943, Robert Filliou joined the Resistance movement organized by the communists and became a member of the French Communist Party during the war (he would later leave it after Titos exclusion for the Communist International).... After working as a labourer for Coca Cola in Los Angeles, he began to study (while continuing to do "odd jobs" to earn his living) and achieved a masters in economics.
In 1951, he took dual French-American nationality. As a United Nations advisor, he was sent to Korea for three years to help write the Constitution and take part in the programmes for economic reconstruction of the country. From there, he travelled in the Far East. From 1954 to 1959, he lived in Egypt, Spain and Denmark, where he met Marianne Staffels, the woman with whom he would share his life and his artistic activity. In 1959, he returned to France (he visited regularly after that). However, he was not attached to any country (as he himself said: "nationality = poet, profession = French"). In Paris, in the Contrescarpe area, Daniel Spoerri introduced him to the world of the plastic artists. This was in the middle of the boom of the 1960s, with the return in strength of Duchamps ideas, the appearance of Fluxus and the effervescent avant-garde of the Nouveaux Réalistes.
With his training in economics and Buddhist thought, he was not attached to any country in particular: "I am not just interested in art, but in society of which art is one aspect. I am interested in the world as a whole, a whole of which society is one part. I am interested in the universe, of which the world is only one fragment. I am interested primarily in the Constant Creation of which the universe is only one product." For him, the work of art was a means of direct action on the world. Like the Brahmin who tries to integrate all the acts in life with the religious rites and duties, Filliou attempted to integrate them with artistic duty, "without worrying about whether the works are distributed or not": "When you make , it is art, when you finish, it is non-art, when you exhibit, it is anti-art." - New Media Encyclopedia.